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A depressing outlook.


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#1 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 02:57 PM

http://library.creat...Last-Film-Lab/1

 

As a stanch proponent of film, it kills me to have read this but realities of the industry seem to be written on the wall. Never the less, I will continue to support film whenever possible and I hope others do as well.


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#2 Will Barber

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 03:01 PM

I will push for film and attempt to shoot on it whenever possible until the day Kodak closes it's facilities for good. I wish I could have gone to school a couple decades ago when film was really the only acceptable option. 


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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 03:27 PM

I'm not so sure. I spoke to iDailies at the BSC show at Leavesden a few weeks ago and they were in fine form.
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#4 Heikki Repo

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 03:48 PM

The comments below the article are certainly worth reading. The article is seems to concentrate on film as mainstream acquisition and distribution in motion picture industry -- and as such it does paint a bit too grim picture of film's future in general.

 

Film might be going away the same way vinyl went away in the beginning of the 90s when almost everybody wanted to get rid of their collections and replace them with CDs. And now it has made a come back to mainstream, even if it isn't everyone's choice: http://www.nme.com/n...daft-punk/72640

 

There are still many companies other than Kodak manufacturing film. While Harman Ilford doesn't manufacture motion picture film at the moment, it is an example of a company adjusted to current situation on the market. Their sales of film are now stable. (Harman Ilford: http://www.ilfordphoto.com/home.asp ) Black and white film is going to be with us for a long time.

 

As for color, I sure do hope that Film Ferrania succeeds. At the moment there is a niche for them to fill: there are no companies manufacturing E-6 color reversal on acetat base for motion picture use. While there might not have been enough demand for E-6 motion picture film stock to start Kodak's large coating machines, Film Ferrania is using much smaller machines and thus is better prepared for smaller demand without the same economical preconditions that Kodak has.


Edited by Heikki Repo, 10 February 2014 - 03:49 PM.

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#5 Pavan Deep

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 03:51 PM

Why do people keep writing such articles? We know that cinemas are going digital and everyone has their personal views regarding their own experiences of watching a digital print. Naturally not having film prints will and has had a very adverse effect on many businesses and labs who were solely focusing on release film prints, many other businesses for instance transport companies have also been affected. But the fact is that artists and independent filmmakers need all the tools of film-making to realize their vision, be it digital or celluloid or both. For some years now many prefer to originate on celluloid and edit and screen their work digitally, the best of both worlds, labs who understand this are doing fine.

 

Pav


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#6 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 10:44 AM

They keep writing these articles (why does creative cow write articles?) because they stir the pot and some portion of the digerati feel good about the closure they want from the end of analog even though that will never happen.


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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 11:02 AM

I'm not sure that anyone really cares about "ending" anything. Personally, as someone with no real stake in either side of this, I just get bored by the endless debate.
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#8 Pavan Deep

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 11:50 AM

I agree it is boring, but it's sensational writing which isn't really helpful only frustrating.

 

Pav


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#9 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 12:39 PM

As I pointed out in the comments, there are small labs (like us at Cinelab) and smaller film manufacturers and much like Polaroid and the Impossible project there will be emulsion available for people who want it. And some of those people will be JJ Abrams.

 

It is an extremely tedious debate which has been beaten to death.


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#10 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 12:40 PM

I stopped paying attention to these articles a while ago.  Provided I can still purchase film from at least one vendor and develop it at at least one lab, these articles have no real bearing on me.


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#11 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 06:03 PM

The debate is repetitious and tedious because people fail to scratch beneath the surface.  Photons draping themselves apon an element of emulsion or apon a a sensitive element in the retina of the eye are an imppossibly complex and poorly understood thing.  Perhaps we should allow that they are a personified entity within nature.  Are we a bit egocentric,  as humans,  to by default assume we are the only significant personified elements in the puzzle of nature.  Perhaps everything is (a complex personified entity forming part of the whole).

 

And yet,  happy as a clam,  people have accepted these digital sensors that simply count photons,  but otherwise ignore them.

Lets suppose, we learned to enumerate the effect that the early morning sun had apon our skin.  A list of things or reactions that occured.  Replacing the sun with a simulation of those reactions,  we would find a defficiency in the result.  When our quest to understand even a small part of nature focuses on the examination of the deconstructed parts,  we will fail to notice everything,  and we will fail to sense the value of the integrated whole.

 

The magical gestalt of a photographic event may momentarily defy explanation for a given person,  but this doesn't discount its value to us.  There is no magical gestalt in a modern photon counting event and the limitedness of this thing is relatively easy to describe.

 

If people are tired of the repetitious film vs digital debates,  be brave,  scratch beneath the surface. 


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#12 Will Barber

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 06:12 PM

Gregg, that may be the most perfect thing I've ever read, and I fully agree.


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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 06:19 PM

Problem is, part of that repetitious debate is that someone generally comes up and expounds a very heartfelt and meaningful explanation of why film matters to them which unfortunately always leave me cold.

 

I'm not blind to the differences, but I don't think there's some sort of undefinable je ne sais quois that digital origination lacks and that film has which makes it somehow better. I've certainly seen productions where digital origination was jarring, but that's an artefact of it having not been properly done: I don't think it's inevitable, or even common these days.

 

P


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#14 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 07:59 PM

If it's meaningful for one person then it could be meaningful for anybody.  If it's non meaningful to one,  or many,  or most,  then one could assume it's non meaningful,  or one could question whether there are deficiencies in those that find it so (non meaningsful).  It only takes the existence of one apple to prove that apple(s) exist,  that they taste a certain way...and so on.

 

Apples (like film) may dissapear.  The synthetic ones may end up tasting OK and have the same nutriments.  But who would want one unless thay had forgotten the joy of eating a real apple.  And who can say what the most sublime or useful thing is about an apple,  or eating it?  Where do we go looking for an answer to that?  Biology,  neuroscience or poetry.  It's so prevalent to go looking for answers in the first one (explanations via biology) that the only healthy reaction to me seems to look to the last one (evocations via poetry and the poetic).

 

"je ne sais quois".  A wonderful phrase.   For most,  film does have a certain something that is difficult to express.  I think these difficult to describe things are on the edge of what we commonly think about.   While there will be some slippery,  difficult to express things that are common to both film and digital (for example, human responses to compositions of light and dark that are evocative via recollecting impressions from prior experience),  there are some almost inexplicable things with film that just do not exist with digital.

And the next step,  to say that these differences don't matter,  because the average human nervous system in its commonly degraded state can't tell the difference anyway......But film allows for the possibility (that one might become cultured to see more accurately).  Digital denies that.

There have been maybe a few times where people have put themselves at risk of ridicule to try and bring up a more profound conversation on film vs digital,  or what film really is.  I tried once,   but the thread was populated by arguments about the differences in working methods and such.

http://www.cinematog...ilm vs digital"

 


Edited by Gregg MacPherson, 11 February 2014 - 08:02 PM.

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#15 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 09:46 PM

Gregg, that may be the most perfect thing I've ever read, and I fully agree.

 

Thanks Will,

But I have no idea how to take praise well.  Better,  cook up some thoughts and have at it,  full throttle.


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#16 Will Barber

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 11:45 PM

 

Thanks Will,

But I have no idea how to take praise well.  Better,  cook up some thoughts and have at it,  full throttle.

 

I find myself feeling the same way with praise. Sometimes the most useful critic is your own hindsight, and sometimes that's all you can get any good feedback from.


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#17 Freya Black

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 07:47 AM

 

I'm not blind to the differences, but I don't think there's some sort of undefinable je ne sais quois that digital origination lacks and that film has which makes it somehow better. I've certainly seen productions where digital origination was jarring, but that's an artefact of it having not been properly done: I don't think it's inevitable, or even common these days.

 

P

 

The problem is that even if there was not "some kind of undefinable je ne sais quois that digital origination lacks" it's highly likely that there will be totally definable qualities of film that will not be defined. The problem is that not everybody sees things the same way too. There have been people saying that video looks "just like film" since the days of the DVX100 mini DV camera and this has just continued. These people may really believe what they are saying! They may actually not be able to see the difference between something shot on a DVX100 and on film. Since then the obsession has mostly been on resolution. "If we just get the resolution up then it will eventually look just like film". Now that has become a bit ridiculous we seem to be moving onto the whole thing of "if we have enough dynamic range it will look just like film". It goes on and on. Film of course doesn't just have just one magic property. This even more than any "undefinable je ne sais quois" is at the heart of the problem because even if it was possible to reproduce the qualities of video in digital mediums (which must be partly possible because digitised film does a better job of simulating film than video cameras do) it doesn't seem that it is likely to happen based on people being fixated on one quality or another. For some people video already looks just like film. For others it looks completely dissimilar.

 

We have already largely done away with projected film and we tend to watch video on mediums like lcd displays that often aren't even capable of reproducing the qualities of film to the extent that an old crt was. It's a testament to what a poor job we are doing of making video cameras that can look like film, that despite the fact we have moved over to display mediums that do a much worse job of reproducing the qualities of film, the video cameras still can't even reproduce the way real film looks in the new digital mediums where they ought to have the advantage!

 

I actually don't think that it is even the goal of most manufactures to make their video cameras look just like film. The only companies that might be attempting this are Red and Arri. Red seem to suggest that their cameras are already just like film and Arri have so far only got as close as the Alexa.

 

Freya


Edited by Freya Black, 12 February 2014 - 07:49 AM.

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#18 Royce Allen Dudley

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 09:48 AM

I learned to shoot and light on film long ago, and love it's unique aesthetic options ( different in each format and stock )... but at least in my world as a workaday DP in Los Angeles, it's been over 5 years since I've set foot in a lab or metered for negative... and the demand for film in my world stopped instantly and completely, overnight. I know of only a few colleagues who had a film originated project in that time, and a couple with very pricey camera packages at firesale prices on eBay for YEARS that get no bids at all. I work on sets reguarly where I jokingly say "check the gate" and most of the crew has no idea what that even means. It's been essentially over for some time, and it's amazing there's even a discussion. Did film use as a norm end before digital as a whole was a mature replacement ? Absolutely! And a damn shame. Is the article alarmist ? Hardly. Will a few vocal romantics make an obsolete product econmically viable ? Well... anyone want a free changing tent ? Makes a good sunshade for your DIT station ;)


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#19 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:34 PM

Yeah, I'll take that. :D


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#20 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 09:33 PM

At the end of the day, so long as we can still have and make pretty pictures, I find I'm not too bothered about how they're made.

Personally I consider the move to digital projection to be far more profound and meaningful a change to what we do (I feel it's for the best) than the move from film to digital acquisition.
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